Henry Fonda hosts this retrospective on the career and films of iconic filmmaker David O. Selznick, who epitomized the era of the auteur producer in 30s and 40s Hollywood. It follows Selznick's early career at Paramount, RKO and MGM, where he had to overcome talk of nepotism on the part of father-in-law Louis B. Mayer. After earning a reputation of literary fidelity with critically acclaimed adaptations of classic novels: "David Copperfield," "Little Women," "A Tale of Two Cities," and "Anna Karenina," the dynamic producer founded his own studio, Selznick International, where he produced pictures of depth and scope including Best Picture winners "Gone with the Wind" and "Rebecca." Clips from many of his films are shown as are interviews with many of his contract artists (Gregory Peck, Ingris Bergman, Dorothy McGuire, Alfred Hitchcock, Joseph Cotten, and Ingrid Bergman.) Written by
Melvyn Douglas was one of the actors under consideration for the part of Ashley Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind," and he can be clearly seen in Lana Turner's screen test. In one of Selznick's infamous memos, the producer expressed disinterest in casting the actor in the part as he photographed "too beefy" for that role in the test. See more »
Footage showing Selznick with Victor Fleming is described as the producer making preparations for filming. The film was prepared by Selznick in collaboration with director George Cukor, not Fleming, who was working on "The Wizard of Oz" at the time. Fleming did not come on board the production until after filmimg had started and Cukor withdrew from the film. See more »
Selznick belonged to the school of real picture makers of which there are very few today. But on the other hand, uh, they tell me - although I never experienced this - he could be very ruthless.
Maybe one should sum it up by saying he was charmingly ruthless.
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